“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.“
2 Timothy 1:7
When you’re profoundly depressed issues like taking a hot shower and eating something besides top ramen seem impossible. I’m embarrassed to say I once went 34 days with a shower. I laid in bed pretty much unable to function.
I suppose that is the insidious truth about chronic depression, I know it well. God seems far, far away. Life doesn’t matter anymore. I am way beyond ‘salvageable.’ I obviously don’t say it, but I feel deep-down like I’m destined for destruction.
Just a word here about Satan’s battle for our souls.
He is evil far beyond human comprehension. His schemes and plots are his attempt to destroy me and to extend his darkness. He’s a boxer who almost always attacks our vulnerabilities and weaknesses, repeatedly. He finds an open cut, and pounds it over and over.
Scripture tells us that the devil is conquered. Using God’s weapons (Ephesians 6:10-18) we can protect ourselves from his evil intentions. But that war is still demanding and it’s a real challenge at times. Especially for us. Our faith isn’t always what it should be.
But there is much I can do.
Yes, it’s true–life does seem impossible at times. Clinical depression, if not confronted biblically, will slowly devour us. It deceives and cripples. There is nothing quite like it; some people tell you it will pass, and that you’ll see the sun again, but they don’t get it. Sometimes it seems to be the worst advice ever given.
We need to understand that afflicted souls are special to God.
And that alone truly comforts me. It seems like there is an invisible tether that holds from completely dropping off the edge. When I pray–it is often desperate and brief. (More like a quiet scream for help.) There are no frills and no eloquence, but I know I’m being heard by Him who guards my soul.
People, for the most part, don’t always understand and are of little help. I must admit that my attitude about this can be less than stellar. I want to shout, “unless you have been lost in this particular section of hell yourself, perhaps it’s best if you just shut up.” (I don’t really say this mind you, but I’m terribly tempted to.)
Once when I was very sick I woke up to find a pastor lying on my bedroom floor praying for me. He didn’t have to do or say anything else. He was very quiet. He left without saying some ‘pious’ word to me, yet what he did was wonderfully done. God used Him.
“I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain.”
John Henry Newman
Speak with the Lord Jesus as often as you can, and learn to listen to His voice. I read the Psalms–they give me a spiritual ears so that I can hear Him. I find a voice that can speak to God. Reading the Psalms imparts things that I can’t have any other way.
That “sound mind” promised in 2 Timothy 1:7 needs to be believed. You must activate it by faith. (Even a faith that falters.)